Rice ranked No. 3 in nation by Alumni Factor

New college guide surveyed alumni about happiness, success and satisfaction with education

Rice University is ranked No. 3 among the top 104 national universities in a new college guide by Alumni Factor that surveyed graduates about their happiness, success, satisfaction with their education and other attributes.

Only Yale and Princeton were ahead of Rice among national universities in the rankings, which were released this week. In the overall rankings, which include national and liberal arts universities, Rice is No. 4, with Washington and Lee, Yale and Princeton in the top three spots.

The Atlanta-based Alumni Factor said it is an independent business not affiliated with news organizations, publishing houses or secondary education organizations.  In explaining its methodology, Alumni Factor said it sought the “voice of the customer” — the alumni — to compile rankings and profiles intended to help prospective applicants and their parents see how well a university prepares its students and what becomes of those students after graduation.

Fifteen attributes, ranging from immediate job opportunities to overall happiness of graduates to percentage of high-income graduate households, were equally weighted for the national rankings. Data for 13 of the attributes came directly from 42,000 graduates across the country who completed an online survey. Data for the other two attributes – the school’s six-year graduation rate and the percentage of alumni who donate annually to the university – came from other sources. Graduates were also surveyed about other attributes that were used for the university’s profile but not for the national ranking. The rankings are based on four years of data collection and research.

“Without doubt, Rice is one of the finest universities in the country and among the leaders worldwide,” the Alumni Factor wrote in its profile of Rice. “Rice’s intense focus on undergraduate education results in alumni success that is nearly unmatched in the world of higher education.”

Rice is one of only four schools to receive a top-20 ranking in 25 of 26 attributes. Among national universities, Rice is No. 2 for intellectual development, preparation for career success and value for the cost of education, and No. 5 for college experience and overall assessment. In the category “would recommend to a student,” Rice is No. 6. It’s No. 7 for household net worth and No. 8 for overall happiness. It ranks No. 11 for three attributes – friendship development, likelihood the alumni would choose Rice again and the percentage of alumni giving. Rice’s overall rank among 177 universities (national and liberal arts combined) in the guide is No. 4.

“Knowing that our students are the happiest in the country according to the Princeton Review, it is now gratifying to learn that our alumni are also among the happiest with their college experience and view their education as having extraordinarily strong and lasting value over the course of their careers and lives,” Rice President David Leebron said.

Last month the Princeton Review’s “The Best 377 Colleges” ranked No.1 for the happiest students in the country for the second year in a row. The 2013 guide also ranked Rice No. 2 for best quality of life, best-run college and students’ love of their school, No. 5 for relations between the city and university and No. 7 for lots of race-class interaction in addition to several other top-20 placements.

Rice’s complete rankings and profile, including a section on notable alumni and key alumni outcomes, are posted at alumnifactor.com, but a free trial or paid subscription is needed.


About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.